He writes: "All of which will make the Democratic primary season hugely compelling. The Democrats haven’t had to debate what they truly believe since 1992 when Bill Clinton became the party’s standard-bearer. That’s a long cease-fire among factions."
I suppose... if you believe, of course, that Nader's run in 2000 was not part of a debate about what Democrats truly believe. And if you think that most of those who voted for Nader won't come running back to the Democratic party because they've realized that being progressive also means being anti the anti-progressives -- it means voting *against* those who you oppose. Or in this case, voting against the Republicans and for the Democrats in 2004.
And, if you add those who voted for Nader (who wasn't a great candidate) and Gore (who wasn't a great candidate) and assume that their votes will all go to the Democrats, the 2004 won't even be close. (Of course, if all the states fall like they did in 2000 [even giving Florida to Bush] but a Democratic nominee Dean switches New Hampshire, the 2004 election goes the other way, too).
He continues: "I think there’s some truth to this. But it begs some questions. Do fiscal and social conservatives have any true litmus tests? Any lines that Bush simply cannot cross? Bush’s stem cell decision was hugely disappointing to social conservatives. And Bush’s record on spending and on the size and role of the federal government is an absolute travesty from the perspective of any fiscal conservative. At what point would fiscal conservatives simply sit on their hands come election time?"
That's easy. Tax increases. If President Bush submitted a tax plan which substantially increased taxes (like, say President Clinton did in 1993), he'd lose his base. They'd sit on their hands come election time. Just like what happened to Bush I in 1992 (of course, a lot of these fiscal conservatives didn't sit on their hands in 1992... they got up and voted for Perot).
Here's a question I've got for Schulz: let's not talk about litmus tests. Is there any group that's part of the Republican base that a hypothetical Republican nominee will never lose? Because, for the forseeable future, the Democrats will always get African Americans; they'll always get labor; they'll always get new immigrants; they'll always get feminists. They'll always get the groups Galt discusses in her originial post. These groups may fight amongst each other during the primary season, but come November, they vote Democratic.
When a party is ideologically based (like the Republicans are posited to be in these two posts by Galt and Schulz) -- and not identity based (like the Democrats are posited to be by these same two posts) -- straying from this ideology causes fractions that groups will never forgive. Like Bush I saying read my lips then raising taxes. Like what brought about the Buchanan insurgency at the 1992 Republican Convention.
So, basically, my question is... dropping the sitting on hands image... who will *always* wait on line in the rain to vote Republican?